by Brent Hovey

Reporter

Aurora -- The Save Sunny Lake Committee finalized its plans to do just what its title says at a meeting June 20.

The panel agreed on eight recommendations to save the lake and improve water quality. They are the same ones approved at a May meeting, but with minor changes.

Parks and Recreation Director Jim Kraus said all the panelists did different was to add a time frame and costs to each referral.

Here are the recommendations:

* The Sunny Lake shoreline should be stabilized.

* Continued efforts to remove carp, grass carp and bluegill from the lake should occur.

* Watershed restoration efforts should be directed at the southern tributary to the lake.

* Monitoring should be conducted in 2008, 2010 and 2012 to document fish communities in the Aurora branch of the Chagrin River at EPA-identified upstream and downstream sites as related to the Sunny Lake discharge. A simplified lake monitoring program should be developed.

* Additional efforts should be directed at excluding Canada geese from the area.

* EVALUATION of the restroom facilities at the park's boathouse should be done to determine the integrity and functional ability of the septic system.

* Evaluation of the existing dam and spillway should be done by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to determine the integrity and safety of the dam.

* Aurora schools should be encouraged to become an active partner in the restoration as it is a unique real-world educational opportunity for students.

Kraus said specifics of each are listed in the full report, with costs and procedures.

For example, to remove carp and bluegill, the lake will need to be drained in mid-to-late September and the fish would be removed in November and December.

Total cost for the entire project should be less than $50,000, Kraus said.

"The biggest thing to get across is that the committee is trying to keep the lake as it is aesthetically, but improve the water quality without spending a lot of money," he noted.

Kraus added the plan is a way to address many of the economic concerns in an inexpensive way.

One process the committee considered was lowering the lake's level. Kraus said that was too big of a change to make without exploring other ideas first.

"These are some things to try to do first. Then in four, five, six years -- with continuing monitoring -- we'll see where we're at," Kraus added.

"If there's no improvement in those years, we'll come back and lower the lake level, but we want to stay away from that now.

"ULTIMATELY, it depends on what happens in the water. If we try these recommendations from now until 2012 and there's no improvement, we'll try something more drastic," Kraus added.

"If it does improve water quality and meets the Ohio EPA's approval, then it's been a win-win situation."

Some of the recommendations are to monitor and investigate some situations, including the boathouse and restrooms.

Kraus said if city officials find the septic tank is contributing to poor water quality, changes will have to be made, and any cost there is not included in the $50,000 estimate.

The committee's recommendations will find their way onto City Council's July 9 agenda for a first reading. In the meantime, Kraus said some measures already have been initiated, such as testing and monitoring.

Once Council gives its endorsement, Kraus said the city will hold a public forum in August either at Sunny Lake or the Moebius Nature Center to inform the public what will happen and to answer questions.

"We want residents to know what we're doing and when they see something being done not to panic," he concluded.

E-mail: Bhovey@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3115